SEM Conference - Institutional Models of Strategic Graduate Enrollment Management

November 15, 2022
  • Meetings, Workshops, and Trainings
  • SEM Conference
  • Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM)
  • 2022 SEM Conference

By Heather Zimar, AACRAO Associate Director, Publications & Journals


In a Monday morning session at the 32nd AACRAO SEM Conference, presenters Ariana Balayan, UMass Medical School, Christopher Connor, University at Buffalo, and Joshua LaFave, Clarkson University, discussed ways in which the higher education community can move graduate strategic enrollment management (G-SEM) forward.

As strategic enrollment management (SEM) research and practice at the undergraduate level has evolved significantly over the years, “G-SEM is fairly new, uncharted territory,” said Balayan.

Ms. Balayan and her co-presenters provided historical context for graduate enrollment management (GEM) research, which includes the first GEM paper published by the Association for Graduate Enrollment Management (NAGAP) eight years ago, a January 2022 SEMQ article, and an AACRAO Research 60-Second Survey.

Balayan noted there’s been practical but not formal development of the G-SEM concept. There is a need, she said, for knowledge of and commitment to G-SEM implementation at the institutional level as well as empirical research and data on how to translate into practice.

Attendees shared their institutions’ G-SEM issues, including smaller budgets, under-supported staff, staff retention, funding for students, and communication.

The presenters shared initial questions attendees should consider for G-SEM planning:

  • What exists for undergraduate SEM, and how might that be a starting point?

  • Who are the key players?

  • How can the SEM planning pyramid be applied to G-SEM work (particularly at the program level)?

To move G-SEM forward, they suggest:

  • Learn about the concept

  • Educate constituents

  • Advocate for G-SEM planning

  • Establish committees

  • Design the initial one-year plan

  • Implement the plan

  • Analyze the efficacy

  • Tweak and repeat for 2-5 years out

The presenters have upcoming qualitative and quantitative research planned for 2023-24. To participate in this research, practitioners can contact Ariana Balayan.